Prokopius I of Constantinople

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His Holiness Prokopius I of Constantinople was the Patriarch of the Church of Constantinople from 1785 to 1789. His deposition as patriarch was apparently due to in-fighting as typically took place during the Ottoman period.


Prokopius Pelekasis was born in Alagonia (Sitsova) of Messenia in Peloponnese, into a poor but pious family. The date of his birth is unknown. Having shown an aptitude for writing in his childhood, Prokopius, at the age of twelve, was sent to his elder brother, Metropolitan Neophytus of Ganos and Chora, under whose care he received an elementary ecclesiastical education. He became a priest and soon entered the episcopate.

In October 1759, Bp. Prokopius succeeded his brother as Metropolitan of Ganos and Chora, a position he held for eleven years. When he traveled to Constantinople in 1769 on diocesan business, he arrived at a time when some influential people from Smyrna were voicing to the patriarchate their dispute with Metr. Kallinikos of Smyrna and became part of the Holy Synod's solution. In June 1769, the Holy Synod transferred Metr. Kallinikos to the Diocese of Tirnovo in today's Bulgaria and, in January 1770, transferred Metr. Prokopius to the cathedra of Smyrna. The transfer Metr. Prokopius accepted "unwilling and tearful" as he had to pay 48,000 kuruş to the patriarchate for the exchange.

Metr. Prokopius arrived in Diocese of Smyrna on December 4, 1770 and began a program of improving the ecclesiastical properties. During his episcopate, he built the churches of the Dormition of the Virgin at Burnova in August 1772 and St. Charalambos at Hacıhaliller in 1781. He was less successful in getting permission for the Church of St. Fotini. He also renovated the Church of St. George in November 1772 and converted pilgrimage facility of St. John the Theologian into a church. He also was able to change the status of the patriarchal monastery of St. John Prodromos on the island of Moschonisia into a monastery of the bishopric of Moschonisia, a subordinate of the diocese of Symrna. While he was metropolitan of Symrna, Metr. Prokopius was called to serve as a member of the Holy Synod from 1780 to 1782, during which time he lived in Constantinople.

On June 29, 1785, the Holy Synod of the patriarchate moved the former Patriarch Gregory, who had been the protosynkellos of the Diocese of Smyrna, to the vacancy at the Diocese of Smyrna created by the election of Metr. Prokopius to the Ecumenical throne. Metr. Prokopius was enthroned as patriarch on July 29, 1785. Patr. Prokopius was active during his short tenure as patriarch as he pursued improving administrative and financial matters of the patriarchate. He had to contend with economic issues within the patriarchate and with the actions of Prince Alexandros Mavrokordatos of Moldavia who made Bishop Romanos Leon metropolitan of Moldavia without the agreement of the Constantinople patriarchate. He also had to contend with the consequences that came out of the Russo-Ottoman war of 1788.

In 1789, the opponents of Patr. Prokopius persuaded Sultan Selim III, who newly had risen to the throne, to issue an edict deposing him. He was initially sent into "voluntary" retirement on April 30, 1789 to Chalcedon before being exiled to the Great Lavra (Megisti Lavra Monastery) on Mount Athos, where he remained until 1797. He then retired to the Mardakio Monastery on Mount Taygetus at his birthplace, Alagonia of Messenia on the Peloponnese where he remained until his death, possibly in 1814.

Succession box:
Prokopius I of Constantinople
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Ganos and Chora
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Smyrna
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Gabriel IV
Patriarch of Constantinople
Succeeded by:
Neophytus VII
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